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Tuesday, 4 October 1983
Page: 1304


Mr WILLIS (Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations)(10.09) — I will refer to a couple of matters which were raised by the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Burr). He referred firstly to the special youth employment training program and suggested that he could not tell the difference between that program, which had been scrapped, and the new private sector assistance program. The reason why he can not tell the difference is that the program has not been scrapped. The special youth employment training program is still being applied and the private sector assistance program, which has been foreshadowed, has not yet been introduced and will not be introduced until 1984. That accounts for the difficulty that the honourable member for Wilmot had in understanding the difference between the new program and the previous Government's program. The private sector assistance program will be introduced in 1984 after there has been a review of training programs. We would like to be sure of the basis on which we introduce it. The objectives are, of course, to make it a sounder scheme than the special youth employment training program. I suggest to the honourable member for Wilmot that his criticism of the PSAP in advance of its introduction and in advance of his knowledge of any detail of that scheme is somewhat premature.

In regard to his confusion about the estimates, he referred to the fact that in the White Paper published by my Department at the time of the Budget headed ' Department of Employment and Industrial Relations Programs 1983-84' the total expenditures there as set out in appendix B of the paper showed a total cost of $733m yet Budget Paper No. 1 referred to an expenditure total of $958m. He suggested that there was some inconsistency of a large amount and that it needed to be explained. The simple reason for the difference is that the $733m represents the total allocation on labour force programs, that is, employment and training programs. It represents a very substantial increase indeed on the allocations under the previous Government-an increase of 110 per cent on the allocations in the previous year-for employment and training programs. The increase is substantially, but not solely, accounted for by the introduction of the community employment program and also because of increased expenditure on various training programs. That accounts for the $733m.

The difference between that figure and the $958m to which he referred and which is in Budget Paper No. 1 is that the latter figure covers various administrative costs and a couple of other items to which I will refer. The precise breakup of the differences between the $733m and the $958m is that in addition to the expenditure on labour force programs comprising the $733m, there is expenditure of $119m on employment services which relates really to the administration expenditure of the Commonwealth Employment Service. There is also a higher allocation for the wage pause program, representing a portion of the $100m devoted to welfare housing. Honourable members will recall that as part of the wage pause package the previous Government allocated $100m in the calendar year 1983 to welfare housing. Of that $100m, $47.6m remained to be allocated in the second half of 1983 and therefore appears in the Budget under my Department's allocation. An amount of $18.5m is accounted for by the infrastructure support program for the steel regions which we have introduced as part of a comprehensive approach to the steel industry package. Honourable members will recall that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Senator Button, has announced details of a protection policy for the steel industry which ensures that we retain such an industry. In addition to that we also announced a $100m infrastructure program for the three steel regions-the Hunter Valley, the Illawarra region and the Whyalla region-to try to boost up their economies which have been utterly devastated by the collapse of the iron and steel industry and the thousands of retrenchments which took place in those regions. That $100m program is over five years. The allocation for this year is $18.5m.

Finally, in regard to the difference between the two figures which the honourable member for Wilmot raised, there is $71.6m to cover administrative and other expenses relating to administrative expenditure on employment and youth functions of my Department, including the central and regional offices, and of the Bureau of Labour Market Research. I suggest to the honourable member for Wilmot that there is no cause for concern on his part. The two figures are totally consistent and there is no reason for him to be concerned in any way that we have made a mistake in the Budget Papers. The difference between the $ 733m and the $958m is thoroughly accounted for.

Proposed expenditures agreed to.

Department of the Treasury

Proposed expenditure, $458,586,000.

Department of Finance

Proposed expenditure, $59,287,000.

Advance to the Minister for Finance

Proposed expenditure, $150,000,000.

Minister for Finance-Special Funds

Proposed expenditure, $53,000,000.